Have Your Rights Been Violated?

Have Your Rights Been Violated?

 Were your fired from your job without due cause, inexplicably denied admission to a university, or treated unfairly by law enforcement officials? When sticky situations like this arise, one has to wonder about the root cause. Unfortunately, discrimination based on race, religion, gender, disability, and age does still exist, in spite of existing affirmative action laws. So just how do you tell if you've been a victim of unlawful discrimination? While only a court can decide if a company, organization, government, or individual has violated an affirmative action law, as an aware and informed citizen, you can learn about your basic rights so you'll be able to spot potential trouble when it strikes. Here's where to look:

Your Paycheck. Are you making less than your co-workers who have similar training, experience, and job duties? Do you suspect your employer is taking religious, racial, or other discriminatory concerns into account when making payroll decisions? Investigate, and file a complaint with your company or with an affirmative action agency if necessary.

Your Fashions. Do you wear visible religious or tribal jewelry identifying you with a particular religious group or ethnicity? You have the right to wear whatever you like, as long as it's within the bounds of your company's or school's dress code. Verify policies and proceed accordingly if you feel you have been discriminated against due to your religious or racial expression.

In Your Arms. Do you talk openly about your homosexual or bisexual relationship? You have every right to do so, of course, but if you get fired without good reason a few days after bringing your gay boyfriend to work, it might be worth taking a closer look at the situation.

If you feel you have been the victim of discrimination in violation of affirmative action laws, there are several things you can do. First, look into the law, and if it seems your rights have indeed been violated, take it up with the Human Resources Department or other administrators at your school, workplace, or government-funded organization. Be polite and get all the facts you can regarding existing policies. File a formal or informal complaint or grievance and see if this solves the problem. If it doesn't, and you still feel like you may be a victim of unlawful discrimination, find an affirmative action lawyer or non-profit affirmative action agency in your area and get help taking legal action.